ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Brig. Gen. William E. King IV, commander, 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, spoke at Non-Conventional Threat CBRNe USA conference on June 1 in Washington D.C.
King discussed the capabilities of 20th CBRNE Command and how the command is working to counter the complex CBRNE threat.
"The command operates across the full range of CBRNE threats and hazards, instead of focusing solely on counter weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or improvised and high yield explosives," King said. "These C-B-R-N-E threats exist in a global security environment that is the most unpredictable since 1991 and the end of the Cold War."
To be successful in this environment, the command must work with their interagency partners, sister services, and allies and partners around the world.
"Routinely I and others in this command engage and operate alongside and in support of joint, Special Operations, interagency and international CBRNE organizations and entities," King told the audience. "From working with the Department of Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Guard during the Prominent Hunt exercise series to training with the New York Fire Department's Hazardous Material Team in a simulated chemical attack scenario at Pennsylvania Station in New York City. These exercises allow us to understand how each of us operate and work through the challenges so the first time we meet it is not in a real world situation."
King went on to add, his command "will certify as a Combined Joint Task Force-Elimination, the first time since 2009."
The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review tasked the Army to expand the mission of the then 20th Support Command (CBRNE) to become a JTF headquarters capable of rapid deployment to command and control WMD elimination operations.
This summer the JTF will consist of U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines as well as Republic of Korea Army soldiers. The CJTF-E will also have ROK units within its force structure.
During his speech, he also elaborated on the regional partnerships the 20th CBRNE Command participates in.
"One of the lesser known partnerships we have is with nations in Africa, where we send explosive ordnance disposal teams to help nations with improvised explosive awareness training and counter-IED operations," King said. "We work closely with U.S. Army Africa to ensure we can support these mission sets because not only does it help build capability and capacity in the host nation forces, but it also allows those we teach to safely identify, reduce and educate the public on IEDs to ensure their safety."
The Command is also working together with international partners and allies is in Germany.
"In November 2015, the Germans and U.S. adopted a formal 'Agreed To Actions' that included a training exercise without troops, a CBRNE Response TTX (Table Top Exercise), and a Combined Joint WMD Disablement Exercise in the U.S. as well as exploring mutual CBRN capabilities in support of the NATO Framework Concept," King said. "This is a great example of how we work collaboratively to enhance our capabilities and build mutual partnership capabilities, capacity and interoperability."
During the conference King invited the participants to the 20th CBRNE Headquarters to better understand what the command is about by interacting with the soldiers and civilians and also being able to see and touch the equipment. The participants were given a tour of the joint tactical operations center and attended a round robin of static displays consisting of the Nuclear Disablement Teams, CBRNE Coordination Element, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.
With units on 19 posts in 16 states, the Aberdeen Proving Ground-based 20th CBRNE Command is the Defense Department's only multifunctional formation that combats global chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats. The one-of-a-kind command trains with joint, interagency and allied partners around the world.